Team tells of being barred from Brazil
REFUSED ENTRY: Dream in tatters after flight complaints
A party of Dublin soccer players have told of their devastation after being refused entry to Brazil on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
The Killester United players and some committee members had embarked on a trip to the football-mad country, but were barred from entry at Sao Paulo International Airport.
The squad of 29 players and coaches were due to arrive back in Dublin today after the trip was ended prematurely. The group had a six-hour stopover in Madrid before they made their way on to Brazil as part of their dream trip for winning the Premier A league of the Athletic Union League.
The group has demanded an explanation for their refused entry into Brazil.
Killester United is a popular north Dublin club, and its ethos is 'to develop young children as rounded individuals and not just excellent soccer players', according to a club website.
A source close to the team said that the players were in high spirits in advance of their trip, and could not understand why they were refused entry.
"On the flight everything was grand until I'm told one or two of the Brazilian passengers made some complaint about not being able to get some sleep because of noise," said a source.
"Immediately the lads quietened down and that was the end of it, or so we thought.
"When everyone was off the plane and in the airport, it seems one of the travellers from Brazil brought the Irish group to the attention of customs or police for no apparent reason.
"Nobody really knew what was going on, and the next thing the entire group was brought to a room and held there for 14 hours. It seems to me that the lads were harshly treated, and that they had behaved just like they would on any other trip. It's a real shame because it was a trip of a lifetime and now it is ruined for them."
While some of the Killester United committee are still believed to be stuck in Sao Paulo, most of the group were thought to be in Madrid last night awaiting a flight out to Dublin this morning.
"The guys are anxious to get back now and give their own side of the story. They feel they have been badly treated and want to set the record straight," a club spokesperson told the Herald. The group is understood to have watched last night's game between Ireland and Slovakia in a hotel in Malta as they prepared to come home today.